Show ContentsLaird History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Laird family

The surname Laird was first found in Berwickshire, a lieutenancy area and historic county on the Scottish Borders. Literally, the surname means a "laird" or "landlord" and is obviously an occupational surname. Another sources claim the name means "lord" as in "Lord of the manor," [1] but we feel the former translation is more appropriate. The earliest record of the name was Roger Lawird or Lauird of Berwick who made an agreement with the Abbey of Kelso relating to his land in Waldefgat, Berwick in 1257. [2]

Early History of the Laird family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Laird research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1552, 1781, 1782 and are included under the topic Early Laird History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Laird Spelling Variations

Although the name, Laird, appeared in many references, from time to time, the surname was shown with the spellings Laird, Lairde and others.

Early Notables of the Laird family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Laird Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Laird Ranking

In the United States, the name Laird is the 1,646th most popular surname with an estimated 19,896 people with that name. [3] However, in New Zealand, the name Laird is ranked the 824th most popular surname with an estimated 887 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Laird family to Ireland

Some of the Laird family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Laird migration to the United States +

Gradually becoming disenchanted with life in Ireland many of these uprooted families sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships often arrived with only 60 to 70% of their original passenger list, many dying of cholera, typhoid, dysentery or small pox. In North America, some of the first immigrants who could be considered kinsmen of the Laird family name Laird, or who bore a variation of the surname were

Laird Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Laird, who arrived in New Jersey in 1741 [5]
  • Samuel Laird, who arrived in Carolina in 1755 [5]
  • Christopher Laird, who settled in Virginia in 1767 with his sons John, Samuel and Mary, and his wife Martha, they eventually moved to Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina
  • Richard T Laird, who landed in Massachusetts in 1783 [5]
Laird Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Laird, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1800 [5]
  • John Laird, who arrived in South Carolina in 1801 [5]
  • Rachl Laird, aged 25, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803 [5]
  • Mary Laird, aged 24, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803 [5]
  • Marsisa DeLa Laird, aged 30, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1836 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Laird migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Laird Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Laird U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [6]
  • Mr. John Laird U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he is listed with the Loyalists and Disbanded Soldiers whose names appear as Passamaquoddy New Brunswick Loyalists [6]
Laird Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Laird, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Hannah Laird, aged 22, who landed in Quebec in 1834
  • Mr. John Laird, aged 40 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Avon" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [7]

Australia Laird migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Laird Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Robert Laird, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Alexander Laird, aged 36, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Navarino" [9]
  • Fanny Laird, aged 22, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Bee"

New Zealand Laird migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Laird Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W. Laird, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "James Lister" in 1865
  • James B. Laird, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Laird (post 1700) +

  • Melvin Robert "Bom" Laird (1922-2016), American politician, U.S. Secretary of Defense (1969-73) and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Dean Samuel "Diz" Laird (1921-2022), American U.S. Navy ace credited with 5.75 aerial victories, flying 138 fighter missions during World War II, Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal (2015).[5]
  • Richard Laird (1939-2020), American politician who served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1978 to 2014
  • Charlton Grant Laird (1901-1984), American linguist, lexicographer, novelist, and essayist
  • Gerald Lee Laird III (b. 1979), American Major League Baseball catcher for the Detroit Tigers
  • Peter Alan Laird (b. 1954), American comic book writer and artist, best known for co-creating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Wayne W. Laird, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Marine Corps, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • Macgregor Laird (1808-1861), Scottish explorer and pioneer of British trade on the River Niger, younger brother of William Laird, the Scottish shipbuilder
  • John Laird (1805-1874), Scottish shipbuilder in Birkenhead, born in Greenock
  • Marc James Peter Laird (b. 1986), Scottish footballer
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Laird Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Spero meliora
Motto Translation: I hope for better things.

Suggested Readings for the name Laird +

  • Laird Family by Edward Forrest Brouhard.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. "Most Common Last Names in New Zealand." Forebears,
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 38)
  8. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from
  9. South Australian Register Friday 22nd February 1856. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Navarino 1856. Retrieved on Facebook